A former ACC standout and current analyst recently provided his opinion on how he sees Clemson’s quarterback competition playing out this season.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made it clear coming out of the spring that rising junior D.J. Uiagalelei is still the starting signal-caller. But by the end of the 2022 season, Roddy Jones believes touted true freshman Cade Klubnik will have usurped Uiagalelei’s starting spot.
The former Georgia Tech running back and current ESPN/ACC Network analyst appeared on The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio this past week and was asked, “At the end of this season, the way we talk about D.J. Uiagalelei is going to be what?”
“That’s a great question,” Jones said. “Because to be honest, if I was a betting man, I would say we aren’t talking about D.J. Uiagalelei — we’d be talking about Cade Klubnik as the starting quarterback at Clemson.”
“Some of that’s the fact you get a new toy in and everyone’s always excited about the backup quarterback because he hasn’t made any mistakes in a game,” Jones added.
As for Uiagalelei, Jones says he needs to see more accuracy from him to believe it after he completed only 55.6 percent of his passes as a sophomore last season with more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9).
“In terms of what they want this offense to be… if you’re going to run the ball and make that the primary thing, make that the thing that you’re best at, your quarterback needs to be accurate when you do throw the ball,” Jones said. “And I think D.J., from what he’s shown so far, is going to continue to struggle with accuracy. And until he doesn’t, he’s got to prove it until I believe that’s going to be something that’s rectified.”
Jones added that Clemson’s offense could have a “higher floor” with Klubnik at the helm.
“Cade Klubnik, by all accounts, is a guy who is very accurate, just innately, as a passer,” Jones said. “So, even if you have to simplify the pass game a little bit off of it, he might give that offense a higher floor with the talent that they have at running back.
“So I’m going to be honest with you, if I had to wager, I would say we’re talking about D.J. Uiagalelei as the backup by the end of the year and Cade Klubnik as the starter.”
“If I had to wager, I would say we are talking about DJ Uiagalelei as a backup at the end of the year and Cade Klubnik as the starter.” –@RoddyJones20 on The Zach Gelb Show @CBSSportsRadio
— Zach Gelb (@ZachGelb) July 22, 2022